Health tips for expatriates

During the process of moving to another country, many decisions and adaptations must take place, especially when there are kids in the family.

In this moment, in order to avoid hassles and problems, we cast here some useful tips about healthcare for expatriates when coming to Brazil.

We must remind you that it´s very likely for big differences to exist, between the birthplace and Brazil, concerning weather, culture and food. That´s why it´s so important to get to know your destination in habits and local characteristics.

Here are some general guidelines of Home Ped, a specialized team of pediatricians for those who are coming to Brazil for a longer stay:

  1. Search for indications of assistant doctors. Grown-ups need a general physician, women need a gynecologist and children need a pediatrician, on a regular basis. It´s fundamental to have a steady doctor, even for orientations in case of emergency. Search for references for the professionals and for those who, preferably, are able to speak your language, since it makes communication much easier, mainly in a circumstance of disease or specific doubts about your health.
  2. In case of children or adults with chronical diseases, it´s important to bring along a medical evaluation with a historical containing the most important information, as information about the disease, blood type, allergies and previous surgeries.
  3. Have a good health insurance! It´s not advisable to exclusively count on public hospitals and healthcare, due to the lack of conditions related to most of them. Check if your insurance has nationwide coverage and write down the closest emergencies and labs, to have them in hand if you need them.
  4. Vaccinate! There are vaccines in the National Program of Immunization in Brazil which are not included in other countries´ calendars, as BCG (for tuberculosis), yellow fever and meningococcal, for example. It´s mandatory to bring your vaccine card, duly filled, with dates and dosages of the previous vaccines.
  5. Eat healthy food and avoid food prepared in places with suspicious hygiene.
  6. Use insect repellent and other means of protection as mosquito nets, in doors and windows. Most of the country has recent cases of yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika and Chikungunya, which are transmitted by mosquitos, and might lead to severe consequences.
  7. Keep your hands clean frequently, by washing them with water and soap or by using alcohol gel. This simple action might help to avoid diseases as flu and gastroenteritis.
  8. Hydrate yourself! In most states of Brazil, the weather is hot almost all year long, and the heat might lead to dehydration, especially for kids and the elderly. Consider wearing hats, caps and sunglasses, besides sunscreen, in sunny days. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun in the times of radiation peak (between 10AM to 3PM) in the summer.
  9. Keep in mind that the water from the sink and shower is not proper for drinking, differently from most countries, mainly in Europe.
  10. Many expatriates enjoy trekking in the nature and forests. In such places, it´s important not to feed wild animals, or even getting much close to them, since they can be harmful and transmit diseases as rabies.
  11. Write down useful telephone numbers as SAMU (192), ANVISA (0800 642 9782), Intoxication help 24 hours (0800 722 6001).

 

Text produced by Home Ped team 

The adaptation of the spouse as a factor of success for the international transfer

The process of international transfer has an increasing importance in the world nowadays. Great corporations, universities, NGOs, religious entities use this resource as a mean to trade knowledge, gather value to a project, or even to provide the employee an essential experience to his career.

However, as much as this process is exciting, it´s challenging. There is a great difference between the dream of living in a new country and the reality of actually doing it.  The routine, bureaucracy and the everyday challenges impose a reality far different from the dreams, and this challenge becomes bigger when the professional brings a family along. Studies prove that the adaptation of the family to the new location is one of the most critical points. According a Global Line research, in partnership with Worldwide ERC, Mobility 2017, most expatriates in Brazil bring along their spouse (71%) and their children (49%). And the main reasons for the international transfer to be unsuccessful is exactly the family.

 

The fact is that, in an international transfer, the spouse plays the most difficult role in the family. In a certain way, the professional works for the same company and keeps his work, which brings up a reference of continuity. The children, despite suffering with the loss of family ties and friends, also maintain school routine and other sports activities which help on the adaptation. However, the spouse, besides leaving important parts of family life behind, as family, friends and activities, needs to deal with a brand new reality, and to make it work for the family. There is a mental effort which is not measured. Not seldom, within this process, the spouse happens to lose their identity, or even fall into depression. That´s the reason why the challenges faced by the spouse in the adaptation to the new place are different, and even bigger than the ones presented to the rest of the family.

At Simple City, we understand the importance of an effective and appropriate support, not only for the family group, but also to the spouse. It´s an equation that has to be balanced much carefully: for each group, an individual attention. When the family is fine, all the process flows perfectly. On the other hand, when something goes wrong, trouble seems to come in bunches. The spouse has a fundamental role upon the success of the international transfer, not only in the support and coordination of all the process, but in guaranteeing proper emotional support for the whole family during this change.

And there´s no such thing as families more experienced in international transfers being more used to the process and, therefore, demanding less support. Each transfer is different and affects the family uniquely. During the process of decision, up to the moment of the transfer, the family goes through situations of anxiety and stress, at the same time as they try to keep mental balance. Stress can be bigger if the spouse remains unemployed in the new destination. The lack of belonging and the feeling of being professionally useless, combined with the loss of a self income, might make this process much harder. Another great point of stress is missing the support from relatives, or from friends, specially for those who have small children. Dealing with uncertainties of children health, as viruses and such, in a new country, is not pleasant at all.

That´s what makes a proper and individual support extremely important. The same research in Mobility 2017 shows that there´s still a support gap in the professional transition of the spouse and in the cultural adaptation of the family. Although most companies do offer straight forwards intercultural courses, a few of them take into account the challenges that the family might continue to face during their first months in the new location.

Part of such problems can be solved with a good relocation service, which consists in much more than finding a good property on a good area. The relocation professional needs to understand the family dynamics and their challenges in order to help the family adjusting to the new country. Rio de Janeiro, for example, may be one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but owns a pretty expensive square foot that does not reflect the quality of properties themselves. Dealing with daily problems as household maintenance, internet and banking, might be frustrating due to the lack of preparation and unavailability of professionals able to speak at least English as a second language.

It all comes down to impact in the high life cost, in financial terms, but also in the additional effort applied so that things can work close to normal. The process of relocation has to be exclusive, designed to meet the needs of that specific family. Bearing that in mind, at Simple City, the family has contact with the same consultant all the way through the housing hunting and installation in the new residence. The role of this consultant is to get to know the family´s demands and expectations, and to work together with the family to choose the ideal property in the shortest time possible, without unnecessary visits. In order to do so, the meetings with the transferred professional and the spouse constantly take place, allowing to discuss the profile of the available properties in the market, which is a valuable resource to help speeding up the adaptation of the family to the place, and to avoid the sensation of time waste, so usual in housing hunting processes.

At Simple City, the family keeps an opened communication channel with the consultant, since the process of searching for a residence, up to the complete installation in the new place. That helps the spouse to feel supported in a critical moment where many decisions need to be taken, concerning unknown services and processes. Besides providing assistance to the family, it´s an additional support to the HR, which is able to focus on their main activities and on the transferred employee, who is, therefore, more able to get used to the new working routine.

Besides the proper support in the search for residence, according to Yonne McNuty, awarded researcher dedicated to study the impact of the spouse in the family life during an international transference, 85% of expatriates report the need of a continued supports, for at least 3 months after being transferred, to deal with the daily challenges within this period, which is the most chaotic in the expatriation, when day-by-day routine and difficulties end up the “honeymoon” days, and might impact negatively the family environment. In Brazil, this support is generally made by demand and sporadically. That might generate a high cost for the company or overcharge internal departments which are defined to help with this additional demand. Planning and setting up and exclusive support program for such period is fundamental for things to flow easily, without any of the involved parties being overcharged. The relocation service has to be flexible enough to meet those demands and expectations with predictability of quality and cost.

That´s why Simple City has developed a monthly signature service for all expatriates´ families. This service holds the daily needs and challenges of the expatriate families and of the HRs (counseling, advising, indication of services, maintenance, general supports, problem management, rental contract, payment of bills coordination, among others). The idea is the family to be supported in all challenges, and the adaptation process to be as fast as possible.

Recommendations for a more effective relocation service:

Therefore, including the spouse in the preparations of a transference, and keeping a careful eye to their needs during this period, is an alternative for a good process of international transference.

Simple City was developed to provide individual and exclusive services, providing a safe prediction of costs, and using technology provide the company all necessary information for the transference process management in real-time.

 

Bibliographic References:

McNulty, Y. (2012): “Being dumped in to a sink or swim”: An empirical study of organizational support for the trailing spouse. Human Resource Development International 15 (4), 417-434

McNulty, Y. & Pember, S. (2014): Delivering Effective Relocation Family Support

Simonellu, B. (2012): Adaptação de Cônjuges e de Expatriados e sua relação com o Desempenho em Designações Internacionais. XXXVI Encontro da ANPAD

WorldWide ERC & Global Line: Mobility 2017

What you need to know before renting a property in Brazil?

Renting a property is not the same worldwide. Several apps make it easier for us to find properties and, somehow, are able to standardize some rules, taking some risks, nevertheless, it´s not all that simple.

There are two ways to rent properties in Brazil: short-term (season rental) and long-term (30 month-rental). In this article, we will approach solely the particularities concerning long-term rental.

There are several rules usually practiced by the market, and one law (Lei do Inquilinato 8.245/91) which regulates this kind of rental. That´s why it´s important to know the rules and to be aware of the terms of the contract that can be negotiated in your favor. We are bringing to subject the main points about this rental mode.

 

Ownership of the property

As soon as the estate is chosen, it´s mandatory for you to require the prove of ownership through documentation. It does sound weird, right? However, unfortunately, some people may rent third-party´s properties without the due authorization, and, in case you are not cautious, justice can demand you, later, to pay the same amount again, this time to the real owner. Therefore, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises, it´s better to require an updated copy of the RGI – General register of properties. If the name of the landlord is there, you can trust and follow ahead. Even then, in some cases, the property may not be under the name of the real owner, in case of heirs. It happens due to the high cost of the ownership transfer fee. If it occurs, you might need a hand from a specialist in analyzing the situation and searching for an alternative.

 

Guarantor

It´s almost certain that the owner will demand the guarantee of a guarantor (a person resident in Brazil with proven income), in case you don´t accomplish to pay the rent. It´s a regular practice in Brazil, since, by law, the guarantor assumes the debt in case the lessee fails to pay, assuring the receival of the amount by the landlord.

However, for foreigners, it might be hard to fulfill this demand. Some remaining alternatives which might be accepted by landlords are:

  • Letter from the Company – Informing that the lessee is an employee of the company, and taking responsibility for late payments.
  • Lease Insurance – In this case, the lessee hires a lease insurance from a security company, which covers up to three times the amount of the rental.

Another alternative is the rental through apps as Quinto Andar, which do not require a guarantor. However, the lessee is required to pay a management tax. The negative point is that Quinto Andar does not offer services in English, and that might be a challenge for foreigners, both for getting in contact and for fully understanding rules and contracts.

 

Bills on time

You may require a proof that all the bills related to the property are in good order, as:

  • Condominium (expenses related to the use of common areas of buildings and groups of houses)
  • IPTU (Urban territorial tax)
  • Fire Tax (yearly paid to the fire department)
  • Light, gas, water

That will avoid surprises as interruption of services, or even eviction orders due to the non-payment of such bills. It´s important to make sure that you will not assume the consequences of third-parties´ failure to pay.

As soon as the rental of the property takes action, the lessee will become responsible for such bills, with the following frequencies:

Rent – monthly

Condominium- monthly

IPTU – payment once a year or divided in 10 times

Fire tax – yearly

Light, Gas, Water, Internet, TV, telephone – monthly

Fire Insurance – By law, this the landlord is in charge of this obligation, but he is able to transfer this cost to the lessee.

Each of these bills will arrive separately, which might sound crazy for those who were used to pay everything in almost a single bill. This is why organization becomes a must-have here.

 

Contract term

The usual term of the long-term rental is 30 months. In case the lessee decides to end the contract before the due term, he might be required to pay a fine. 

In order to avoid this situation, you may:

– Negotiate with the landlord a shorter term for the contract, in case you already know that you will stay in the country for less than 30 months.

– Negotiate the absence of fine in case of early end of contract, since you notify the landlord within no less than 60 days in advance, for example.

There is only one case in which the lessee is free from paying fine for early end of contract: in case of transference of city/country for professional reasons. In this case, the lessee is only required to present a notification to the landlord in 30 days in advance, at least, and to fulfill the obligations concerning the return of the property, as we will approach further.

 

Household maintenance

By the law (Lei do inquilinato), the responsibility of household maintenance belongs to the lessee. That might sound strange in case you come from the USA, for example, where the landlord is responsible for almost all kinds of repair. That´s why it´s important for you to keep maintenance updated (doors, windows, air conditioners, swimming pools, etc.). If you don´t keep an eye on that, when returning the property, you might be required to pay all expenses at once, which might be pretty expensive.

And here´s a tip: Considering the responsibility of the lessee concerning household maintenance, it´s important to avoid choosing properties of difficult maintenance. For example, a marble wall tends to grow darker, and, in order to keep the original color, it´s necessary to polish and to apply proper products from time to time, which might lead you to reconsider that option.

Another important tip is to make sure that the property does not have any hidden maintenance problem. We have mentioned that on the article “Reducing the cost of household maintenance for expatriates”. It´s advisable to take a look at the article and to check the suggested measurements.

 

Further responsibilities of the lessee

In addition to the payment of bills on time and household maintenance, the lessee has to be aware of other obligations defined by law:

– Using the property under the accorded terms

– Returning the property in the same state as it was delivered, except for natural wear. – Paying all due bills until the return of the property

– Immediately reporting the property about any problems concerning the property

– Not changing the internal or external area of the property without due written authorization of the landlord

 

But if the lessee is in charge of the maintenance, what is the responsibility of the landlord?

By law, the landlord is responsible for:

  • Delivering the property in conditions of full use and in good conditions.
  • Performing all structure maintenances of the property as electrical and hydraulic problems, since they have not been caused by the lessee or their visitors.
  • Solving problems of the property which are previous to the rental contract.

However, this last item is somehow fuzzy. Without an efficient inspection previous to the entrance in the property, it will be pretty hard for the lessee to prove that some maintenance problems were caused during the previous rental contract. That´s why, in order to avoid problems, it´s ideal to hire a trustworthy professional who can attest the state of the property. Specially if the property is old.

In addition, some of the extra fees and taxes of the condominium, for example, might be in charge of the landlord. But it´s not possible to generalize, requiring an analysis of the kind of charge billed.

Many particularities make the rental process a little complex for those in touch with this universe for the first time. However, relocation companies, as Simple City, provide support for this kind of service, making the whole process much easier.

Things you need to know about supermarkets in Brazil

You just arrived in Rio and you may ask: Where should I buy food? In the supermarket, indeed. However, how should I recognize what I should buy? Things on supermarket will be very different from US markets. Different types of meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.  In additional, all information are in Portugues. So this article aims to be a small lifesaver as we guide you through this initial process.

Rio de Janeiro have great supermarkets. However those located at South Zone (Leblon, Ipanema, Copacabana) tend to be very crowded, because they’re located where real estate is at a prime. Once you go to the West Zone (Barra da Tijuca), they increase in size dramatically.

 

One thing to be noted is that not all cashiers weigh bread or produce. In some places, specially small supermarkets, you’ll have to do that yourself when you bag them (or there’s someone there to do it for you). For that and other reasons it’ll take more time to shop in Brazil than it does in the U.S. In spite of that, one of the things I enjoy the most when going to Brazil is food shopping. Going to the supermarket and checking out the different departments for Brazilian fruit drinks and pastes, soft and creamy cheeses like Queijo de Minas, Requeijão and Catupiry, and marvelous Brazilian sausages and salt meats. Don’t be afraid to try them.

The frozen foods section keeps growing and growing and the stuff is very tasty, but as in the U.S., beware of sodium and MSG!

Don’t forget that Brazilians use the metric system. When buying sliced ham, for instance, one hundred grams is about a quarter of a pound.

Meats

Although you may recognize meat cuts like pork chops and such, beef cuts are very different and prepackaged meats are not as prevalent. You’ll notice that most meats are considerably leaner than in the U.S. Normally, good supermarkets will have a butcher who will cut and weigh the meats for you. Filet mignon is available, of course, if you can’t think of anything else…

Also, as if you weren’t confused enough, names of cuts will vary from Rio and São Paulo to the south of Brazil. In Rio and São Paulo, ask for “contra-filé” for steaks, “maminha” for roasts, “picanha” for barbecues, and “alcatra” for hamburguer. Buy your cut of meat and then ask for it to be minced (the expression is “passar na máquina”; ask them to do it twice). “Bisteca” is also a nice steak. Get a Brazilian cookbook in English that explains the different cuts.

Brazilian supermarkets also sell a variety of salt meats used in feijoada and other traditional dishes, and imported salt cod, which is used in dishes of Portuguese origin, like the fabulous “bolinhos de bacalhau.”

Sausages are also completely different from what we eat in the U.S. Honestly, much better. You can try grilling them (here are some as served in a typical barbecue) or use them in a feijoada (be daring and try the recipe).

Chickens in Brazil taste delicious; it has to do with the way they are fed and the fact that they are not so fat. Try a “galeto” or very young chicken which you can buy already roasted. A lot of places called “‘padarias” (bakeries) also sell spit-roast chickens. Both are very tasty and juicy, and – especially in the summer – you don’t have to sweat in the kitchen to have a good meal. Just whip up a salad!

 

Milk and Other Dairy Products

Brazilians have a type of milk called Longa Vida (Long Life), which is sold in boxes and doesn’t require refrigeration until it’s opened. The best one I tasted actually came from the milk cooperative of Uruguay. In case you don’t know, a few of the South American countries are members of Mercosul, a common goods market. The Italian company Parmalat has been in Brazil for a while now: they sell all sorts of milk products in cute little cartons.

There are some marvelous yogurt and yogurt and fruit drinks in bottles in Brazil. My favorite yogurt is made of sheep milk and flavored with berries. My second favorite is made with Brazilian tropical fruits, such as graviola and cajá.

Brazilian supermarkets these days sell dozens of different cheeses, including some made from goat milk and a mix of goat and cow milks. I love the Brazilian cheeses I mentioned in the intro. You should try those; they’re nothing like what we’re used to here.

Try combining a slice of Minas cheese with a slice of guava (goiabada) or quince (marmelada) paste for a no-sweat, instant dessert Brazilians call “Romeu e Julieta.”

Salamis and other cold cuts are sold with the cheeses and the variety is amazing (thanks to all those Italian and German immigrants!).

Fruits and Vegetables

I recommend you to shopping at the street markets. In Rio has the Cobal markets in Leblon and Humaitá. But you can also find feiras at your neighborhood. Be aware about the day of the week and location – they generally happen once a week. But if you prefer something more structured, you can go to Hortifuti. Is a large supermarket chain, available at almost all areas, where you can find colorful variety of fruits and vegetables and a special area for organic products.

Fruit Juices and Coconut Water

Fruit juices at the supermarket are sold either in glass bottles or in boxes that do not require refrigeration until opened. You’ll need to dilute juices like cashew or passion fruit and add sugar to them because they’re extremely tart. The juices are either just the fruit or fruit juice with soy. These seem to be very popular.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to try the Brazilian soft drink called Guaraná made from Amazonian berries. It’s loaded with caffeine and superior in taste to Coke or anything else in the U.S. Coconut water is sold in boxes (but I’d rather drink it fresh directly from the coconut!).

Breads and Pasta

Your supermarket will have a good selection of breads and pastas, which Brazilians eat a lot of. The best breads will probably come from your corner bakery (“padaria” in Portuguese), which also sells soft drinks, cheeses, cold cuts and a small selection of foodstuff. But I’ve bought baguettes from several supermarkets and they were delicious.

 

Cleaning Products

There are a lot of detergents and dish liquids in Brazil, try the ones made with coconut. Brazilians still use a lot of laundry soap bars, because they’re cheaper and do an excellent job (not everyone has a washing-machine, ladies). I’m very partial to “sabão de coco” (coconut soap) which is simply the best to wash your delicate stuff.

Pet Foods

If you’re taking your pooch or kitty to Brazil, tell them to say good-bye to the dozens of varieties of foods and treats and to learn to love leftovers and home-cooking. Pet foods are now available but still quite expensive.

International Products

All the best supermarkets now have a considerable amount of goods from the U.S., Argentina, Uruguay and European countries. So, yes, you will be able to buy American potato chips and cereals and so on, and French cheeses, and Chilean and Argentinian wines (woohoo!), etc. etc.

To make it simple, at list on the beginning, find bellow a list of principal supermarkets in Rio de Janeiro

Mundial – Large supermarket with good variety of products. More economic than others but payment only in cash or debit card. Credit card not accepted.

Zona Sul – Looks like a boutique supermarket. Prices are more expensive but you can easily find international products and a large variety of products for those with alimentary restriction (gluten-free, lactose-free). Delivery service available.

Prezunic – Small and popular supermarket where you can find a mix of all products.

Carrefour – Large supermarket available at Barra da Tijuca. In addition to food and drinks you can also find clothes, electronics and white good appliances.

Hortifruti – Specialized in fruits and vegetables. You can also find dairy products and a good variety of organic products. Delivery service available.

 Article updated from text available at Maria-Brazil.org

 

 

The challenges faced by a foreigner living in Brazil

Samba, soccer, caipirinha. That’s the image that crosses a foreigner’s mind when they think about Brazil. But in case you’re about to come here for professional purposes, you should reconsider this stereotype. The largest country in South America is huge and complex. And here are some challenges faced by a foreigner in Brazil.

The first thing you should bear in mind is that Brazil is recovering from a unique financial crisis. Between 2014 and 2016, the Brazilian GDP shrank in about 9%. The growth was minimal in 2017 (0,2%), and for 2018, the perspective is a growth of 1,5%.

This downturn has increased unemployment, which reached 12% of the economically active population in 2018 (over twice the rate recorded in 2014, 5%).

Politics negatively impacts economy

Besides the structural problems and the mistaken governmental decisions over economy, the area also suffers with the political instability installed. In 2016, president Dilma Roussef was impeached and removed from her position.

With Dilma’s dismissal, her vice-president, Michel Temer, became president. This change is considered a coup by several Brazilians, while other believe it was the result of a due legal process to remove a president considered by many as unable to maintain the position.

Michel Temer, however, was not able to pacify the country. A short while after becoming president, he started being investigated for passive corruption, and witnessed some of his allies being arrested.

The country division became even deeper in 2018, when the new president was elected. The leader, according to the election polls, Jair Bolsonaro won the election and two months of his term in office is marked by miss comunication on  his team, change on key positions and instability  at his political party.

Lack of Investments in Infrastructure

Another factor that prevents Brazil from reaching all of its productive potential is the lack of investments in infrastructure. The country invests only 2% to 2,5% of its GDP in infrastructure, half the ideal, according to McKinsey Global Institute.

The situation became worse in 2017, when only 1,4% of the GDP turned into investment. For comparison purposes, Chine invested, in the same year, 8% of the GDP, and India 5%. In order to improve this scene, the country would have to invest R$ 8,7 trillions I, infrastructure over the next 20 years, divided as below:

  • 37% in railways
  • 27% in electric energy
  • 16% in telecom
  • 11% in sanitation
  • 9% in urban mobility

It’s important to highlight that the lack of investments in railways led Brazil to be paralyzed in May, due to a strike of truck drivers, causing a downfall of 11% in the country industrial production.

Telecom services are precarious

In the telecom area, the foreigner in Brazil might have difficulties trying to access the internet from home, or in mobile devices. The country has 235 million mobile lines active, but the quality of access to internet is still pretty bad.

According to company Akamai, the average internet speed in Brazil is 6,4 Mbps. In the U.S, for example, this average is around 17 Mbps. Brazil is even behind neighbor countries as Chile (9 Mbps) and Uruguay (8 Mbps).

Another negative point is the concentration of services. Around 90% of the telecom market is concentrated in only four companies. Such oligopoly results in a bad quality of services.

Education is a challenge

Brazil invests many resources in education. Around 6% of the GDP is forwarded to the educational area. Unfortunately, however, such amount has not been converted into quality.

The country performance in international evaluations is always negligible. In Pisa, for example, Brazil holds the 63th position among 70 participating countries. That results in many Brazilians sentenced to remain in the lower classes, for not being able to become capacitated.

The higher classes are not impacted in this area. Private schools have, in most cases, a better quality of teaching than public schools in Brazil. Nevertheless, the educational standard is still lower than the average measured in public schools in developed countries.

In Brazil, foreigners may choose to enroll their children in International schools, which have a better quality of education, but are extremely expensive. Keeping a child in The British School, for example, costs around R$ 50.000 per year.

Problems in construction industry

The consequences of poverty in education are reflected, for example, in the construction industry. Businessmen in section – or even property owners – complain about lack of qualified personnel, which makes many positions remain vacant.

Even simple household works might become a nightmare due to lack of professionalism. The most usual problems regard overpricing, low quality of the materials used or mistakes during the execution.

The area is still impacted by the culture of improvising. There is even a Brazilian expression for that called “gambiarras”, concerning careless installations that represent a great risk for residents, as inappropriate or shotgun power grids, for example.

The impact of problems over foreigners

Every Brazilian is affected, in a higher or lower degree, by the problems mentioned above. But the situation is even more complicated for foreigners.

Dealing with such shades remains a challenge for those who are still adapting to the lifestyle and culture of a new country. In general, the highest difficulties for foreigners in Brazil are residential.

Searching for a house or apartment to live involves handling high rental prices, specially in big cities as Rio de Janeiro. And the prices, most of the times, are not justified by the quality of the property. Even if a foreigner decides to pay the prices charged, there’s still the need to cope with a bureaucratic avalanche until business is done.

Patience is a must-have, above all. Estate agents and administrators are known for their lack of agility when solving problems. And, even after the contract is firmed, complications may arise.

It’s extremely important for the foreigner in Brazil, before concluding the property rental, to make an inspection in the place. It’s not unusual for tenants to move to apparently new apartments and, a few days later, discover serious problems in infrastructure.

Some examples are old electrical panels, improvised electrical installations not in compliance with the legal requirements, and even gas installations done with vices.

There are serious problems that might put in risk the physical integrity of the tenants, and that can only be identified during a technical inspection.

In case the property needs repairs, it’s very likely for them to take long to be concluded, due to lack of qualified labor and problems with assiduity, among others.

Meanwhile, the foreigner may decide to go to a temporary accommodation. But that also represents a challenge. There are few temporary accommodations in Brazil, and platforms as AirBnb still don’t attend the requirements of big companies that demand flats with a good infrastructure and amenities.

Hiring services is putting patience to a test

Once installed, the foreigner faces another step: hiring services of telecom, as internet and telephone.

The service attendance to the potential client takes long and is solely done in Portuguese.

Getting a second copy of a bill can become a Herculean task, since the foreigner will have to communicate – only by phone – with operators who do not speak English, and who are obliged to conclude the call in the shortest time possible.

This is only one example. In case the devices have problems, the situation may become even harder to solve. Besides, since the infrastructure is saturated, telephone companies are usually not able to deal with all the demand.

Everything seems to conspire against the new residents, but the adaptation process can be facilitated by following some tips.

Tips for an easier adaptation

  • Don’t take anything too personal. That’s how things work in Brazil.
  • Remember that Brazilians and foreigners are on the same boat, on the move and hoping to head for changes.
  • There are smaller “Brazils” inside Brazil. The Brazilian diversity might surprise you in terms of service and attendance.
  • Search for support of a specialized company when moving to Brazil. They know the reality of the market and are able to make the change flows easily, facilitating the access to better properties. They can still help on the TV and internet installations and provide other suggestions in order to make your life easier.

Those are the main challenges faced by foreigners when moving to Brazil. In this scene, which points are you most worried about? Leave your opinion in the comments.